Now that it is officially spring it’s a great time to talk about Spring Cleanup of the landscape and gardens.
If you were diligent in the fall and completed a thorough fall cleanup and properly put the landscape and gardens to bed the spring cleanup should be a snap. But if you slipped a bit in the fall the spring is a perfect time to spruce things up and prepare for the 2015 growing season.
Below is a list of the Top 8 Spring Cleanup chores to ready your gardens and landscape for the outdoor living months and growing season that lies ahead.
8. General Cleanup
The winter rain and wind can leave your gardens and landscape a mere shell of their summertime glory. One of the primary parts of the Spring Cleanup is the general cleanup. Even if you were diligent in the fall there are bound to be some leaves that one way or another found their way into your yard. Now is the time to pick up those leaves, sticks and other miscellaneous debris that is hiding in all corners of your yard.
7. Weed the Weeds
Just as the desirable plants are beginning to show signs of life and blossoming on to the scene so are the weeds. With a mild Northwest winter the weeds are making their presence known this spring. My best advice regarding keeping your gardens weed free (or as close to that dream as possible) is persistence. A consistent weeding routine that begins early and continues often will over time pester the weeds into submission.
6. Prune Trees and Shrubs and Trim Back Perennials & Ornamental Grass
Generally speaking spring is a good time to prune trees, shrubs, and roses. Perennials and ornamental grasses can be cut back near ground level. It is true that some plants prefer or need to be pruned during other times of the year, but spring is a relatively safe time to prune or cut back most plants. Trees and shrubs can be selectively pruned and shaped and perennials and ornamental grasses can be cut back in preparation for the new season’s growth.
5. Feed the Gardens
The landscape and gardens are awakening from a winter slumber and are hungry for some nutrients to thrive on during the coming growing season. Spring can be a great time to work in a layer of compost around your garden plants or rake into your turf. Additionally, fertilizing with a slow release organic fertilizer such as Milorgonite can help give your plants a little boost.
4. Rejuvenate the Turf
For healthy grass and turf Spring Maintenance can be a just what you need to keep things growing green. Often time’s turf that appears to be in poor health may suffer from soil compaction and thatch. Spring is a great time to thoroughly and aggressively rake the turf to remove thatch and dead grass. This task coupled with aeration of the turf may be just what your lawn needs. Aeration helps reduce soil compaction and allows better root growth. After raking and aerating the turf spreading a layer of compost and over-seeding can really help bring your turf back to life. Fertilizing with a slow release organic fertilizer at the time of over-seeding or just after the new grass has emerged is a great next step.
3. Update the Mulch
Back in point Number 7 it was relayed that pestering the weeds can be a great strategy to keeping these undesirables at bay. This is certainly true, but another tactic to be used in concert with Number 7 is one with numerous advantages, mulching the planting beds. Mulch provides numerous benefits to the gardens and landscape. First and foremost a good layer of mulch (2-4” deep) will shade weed seeds and prevent them from receiving the light necessary for growth. However mulch also insulates the garden to keep plant roots cooler in the heat of the summer and warmer during the cold of winter. Furthermore, as the mulch breaks down it adds nutrients to the soil to help feed the plants. And the most obvious point is mulch refreshes the look of the planting beds improving the aesthetic of the landscape.
2. Garden Edits
Like most things in life the gardens often need to be refined to meet their potential. Spring is a good time to move an underperforming plant or fill some holes across the plant palette of your gardens and landscape. Making edits and updates on an annual basis can keep your gardens fresh and develop the ever-important layers needed to provide your landscape multiple season interest and sophistication.
1. Design New Gardens and Landscape Features
Maybe your gardens and landscape are beyond edit stage and a design is really what you need. Whether you have a once planned existing landscape, a blank slate, or you inherited someone else’s poorly kept gardens a well thought through landscape design can help you extend your living space into the outdoors and add curb appeal to your home.